Three things my mother taught me about business…
My mother taught me to appreciate a job well one – “If you’re going to kill each other do it outside – I have just finished cleaning!”
In Australia Mother’s Day is in May. This is the day that you should thank your mother and reflect on what a wonderful person she is. Apart from appreciating a job well done what else did your mother teach you?
As a business owner and manager can we learn from our mothers?
My mother was a school teacher, a city girl who married a farmer in rural New South Wales in the 1950s. This was probably not the life her father, a senior public servant had envisaged for his youngest daughter. Perhaps this background helped her in teaching her sons about life.
Here are three things my mother taught me that have helped me in business.
- Strong work ethic
My earliest memories of my mother were of her looking after her four sons and making significant sacrifices. Mum went back to work when my youngest brother went to school primarily because her income would help support and educate our family. The uncertainties of rural life with droughts and low commodity prices meant ‘off farm’ income was essential. She would drive off every day to teach, come home do her domestic chores and then plan and mark schoolwork well into the night. This hard work had its own rewards; providing an education for her sons, satisfaction of educating and inspiring the children she taught and providing financial stability for the family. There is no substitute in business for hard work with a clear goal in mind.
Rural life is often hard and at times an unrelenting grind as the lines in the Eric Bogle song “Now I’m Easy” say
“Of droughts and fires and floods I’ve lived through plenty
This country’s dust and mud have seen my tears and blood”
Through the heat, the droughts, low prices, flies and dust Mum persevered supporting Dad, and providing physical, emotional and moral support to the family. Mum would say, ‘Put your back into it and keep going’, and I’ve taken this thinking into business. Even if the worse appears to have occurred, stay calm, focus and carry on. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t get caught up in the crisis. With focus and hard work, it will pass.
- Fierce self-reliance
My mother was fiercely hard working, independent and had a strong sense of self belief often introducing new ideas into a conservative rural community. She instilled in all her sons these qualities of independence and self-belief with a strong emphasis on the value of education. When you’re young and starting out in a new job or a new business it can be hard to remember in the face of critics, how important self-reliance is.
So on Mother’s Day think about what your mother taught you when you were growing up and thank her. Mum’s qualities taught us to trust in our decisions and do not hide from our mistakes. As Mum would say:
“It’s not the mistakes you make, but how you deal with them”
implying that a high work ethic, perseverance and fierce self-reliance will see you through.
As a business owner or manager can you use the qualities your mother taught you to improve your business?